Summer Adventure Camp 2020


“Our kids wait for Adventures in Cardboard more than they wait for Christmas!”

-Paula Warford, parent

“My son continues to talk about AIC, and it's clear that his week in Theo Wirth Park was the highlight not only of his summer but of his year and even perhaps of his 10 years on this earth. He will definitely be back next year!” 

-Miranda McGowan, parent

“Do you guys know how amazing you are?  I appreciate this camp experience so much for my children. The environment of creativity and acceptance is so special. My son had a rough year at school and this week has been magical (after only 2 days!!) He's happy and calmer than I've seen in over 9 months. So thank you!  Kindest Regards and Huzzah! (My kids tell me we must say this at least 4 times a day now).”

-anonymous parent

“My kids come home totally wiped out from all the awesomeness!”

-Kim Pierce, parent

“The BEST camp ever!! My boys loved all aspects of the camp - building weapons and castles, writing spells and incantations, playing capture the flag, searching for treasure (relics), and playing in the woods. The staff is engaged and supremely creative.”

-Shannon Baker Overdahl, parent

“My son loves every minute of this camp and he's a hard kid to please (unless a screen is involved.) It's an amazing week that is unplugged and full of boyhood wonder!”

-Larissa Judt, parent

“My son LOVES this camp! According to him, it's the most fun he's ever had. We will definitely sign up again and for many years to come! So well organized and the camp leaders are amazing.”

-Melanie Sizer Moriarty, parent

“Hands down one of the best camps in the Twin Cities! Julian and his staff create a magical adventure full of fun and creativity! My daughter is already looking forward to camp next year and hopes to become a camp leader someday! I highly recommend this camp to children that love the outdoors, building castles, designing weapons and armor out of cardboard, theater and being creative. Great Job to all of the staff at Adventures in Cardboard! A special thanks to Zoe and Patrick! You have both been great role models and your love of all things glittery and your creative hearts have meant a lot to Riley!

Good luck to the House of Drake in the final battle!”

-Jennifer Jouppi, parent

“My son had the best time attending this camp last week. In fact, he made it clear this was his favorite camp ever. He was so totally engaged - bringing his creations home at night and working feverishly to improve them. He practiced his 'epic deaths' and sword fighting techniques often. He was so happy and so energized by this camp - we'll certainly go again. Thanks for creating such a magical experience for kids!”

-Nancy Lyons, parent

“This camp is a perennial favorite in our family for so many reasons. We love the fact that it takes place outdoors, it highlights medieval history, promotes creativity, theater and teamwork, and is just really fun.”

-Jennifer Bertram, parent

“My two boys just finished their first week and said this was the best camp they had ever attended. We loved that they allow the kids to roam around and be kids! The instructors are great and we are definitely coming back. Now they are home still working on their weapons and armor just because it’s fun! It's a great idea and I hope it continues to be successful forever!”

-Kristin O’Brien, parent

“Thank you, my son fully enjoyed the camp, saying it is the best camp he has ever attended!!!”

-Angela Rosales, parent

“You guys are doing an amazing job. I’m so impressed with your program and want to thank you for creating the most memorable week of Chase’s summer (this year and last). Chase can’t wait for next year (and we’ll try to sign up for two weeks this time!)”

-Scott Litman, parent


Monday-Friday, 9am-3pm, high design for minimal structure, maximum fun!


Classic Camps ages 8-16, Tactical and Free Role Play Camps ages 12-17 & 15-18


We boast 1:4 staff-to-camper ratios, rare in any camp!


Highly experienced artists and teachers lead all activities!


Transporation from north and south Minneapolis to many sites!


Summer Adventure Camp 2020 has been cancelled.


It just lays us low to report that on Friday, May 22nd Adventures in Cardboard has made the extremely difficult decision to cancel all regular camps this summer, June through August. We’re heart-broken about this news. We were truly looking forward to being in full summer glory with you all (even in masks and physically separated!) and we still can be in some way this summer.

What does this mean for the future?

We are strategizing how to organize next year to run in 12 small bands instead of 4 big ones, and how to be nimble and coronavirus-protected without compromising who we are and how we run, for however many years we need to be.

What does this mean for AiC-style fun this summer in 2020?

If you’ve already told us you’d like to do an alternative June camp session we know that, those camps are happening and details are coming next week. Alt June camps however are now full, they had to be funded by a disaster loan and our loan has run out.​

But… we are going to open registration for NEW activities for July and August. Look for details here in late June for:

  • small game days adapted for social bans by specific park
  • small castle exploration days adapted for social bans by specific park
  • fantasy world building groups (This would be essentially what we do at camp adapted to happen from afar. Two AiC artists will lead a group of 6-8 campers through a month of fantasy world creation. Online check-ins would happen but the real work would happen outside of that black mirror – with drawing, writing, music-making, costume-making, video-making, game spinoffs that happen offline for co-created fantasy and science fiction worlds we’d LOVE to live in. And we’d share it out into a greater world that needs it.
  • …and of course continuing the Online RPG Board all summer and probably for the foreseeable future. In fact, online RPGs are happening now and new games are updated most Sundays at 6pm.

Be well friends! We wish all in our community good health and unbroken spirits as we work through this crisis together!

Step into a world of swords and sorcery, catapults and castles, mythical heroes and legendary beasts!

Be initiated into an ancient and esteemed House of The Realm and jump into live-action adventure gaming! Build your own arms and armor! Create your own culture and histories! Defend your lands from monsters and opposing Houses! Construct gigantic castles, labyrinths and fortified cities! Battle on trails, fields and shorelines as you seek out lost relics of power! Tell a hundred stories by your word and deed in the most enchanting, wooded and mystical parks across the metro region!

Adventures in Cardboard seeks to re-inspire creative outdoor play by immersing participants in fantastic worlds that they help to create.

Our camps are places that demand the use of legs and feet as much as hands and head, where artist-instructors seek to unleash a zeal for creative role-playing, and where “wonder” is the preferred path to igniting a passion for design, construction and playful exploration of the natural world.

Our mythical realm is a dangerous place, but our camps are safe places for all people, of all genders. Bring your reality into our open world and expand everyone's horizons!

Adventures in Cardboard is for girls as much as boys. It is open to all people and all genders.
Our instructors are sensitive and skilled and they are trained to be aware of gender dynamics especially when it comes to combat play: an activity often tragically associated only with boys. But every week we see that battle games and tragic fantasy role playing is play that is enjoyed by people of all genders.
Unless adventurers instruct us otherwise, we always make sure there are several houses that are at least half-filled with girls and non-binary gender identifying individuals. This insures that all adventurers will:
  • experience activities in cohorts of equal gender ratios,
  • be able to battle other houses that are similarly composed,
  • and it helps us avoid a competition-dynamic based on gender.
We are currently at about 25% girls having doubled their participation since 2014, but we know we can do much better. To that end we strive to build a culture and legacy of respect for all people at camp, but also especially for girls and non-binary genders who are sometimes under-represented in the domain of battle play and tragic fantasy. Every person at camp will find instructors that can be big sisters, big brothers and big siblings to them for the week; a large number of our instructors are women and people who identify as non-binary gender: all are skilled and capable artists, teachers, actors, coaches and martial artists of all ages.
Please let us know if we can answer any further questions for you about gender dynamics at camp.
No matter what pronouns you choose to go by, know that battle play and competition is only a part of the Adventures in Cardboard experience. You can avoid it entirely if you like and stick to role playing experiences. There are a plethora of cooperative and theatrical activities available and campers may participate in cooperative and/or competitive activities as they like! 
email TACTICAL West Bush Lake Raw


There is a lot of information here, but no worries, just start here: If you're new to AiC and you have kids within the suggested age range of 8 and 16 we suggest simply finding a Classic Session at a park near you and during weeks that are available to you. 

If you have kids that are a little older, then Tactical and Theatrical Sessions are also fantastic options and very, very similar to Classic Sessions.

If you are a returning family then you may want to consider going with a certain band if your child liked their counselors in that band. We have four bands and they are all equally well trained, fun-loving and kind. They are teachers, artists and fantasy enthisiasts of the highest order.

Another thing to consider would be whether or not you are arranging your child to go with friends. But there are always plenty of kids who come solo and our counselors are highly sensitive to the needs of campers to find new friends and feel included - solo campers will not likely feel solo for long!

The last thing to consider might be whether a bus from Powderhorn Park, North Commons Park or Carver Elementary would be helpful for your family. Our camps run 9am - 3pm, busses leave 8:30am and typically are back around 3:30-3:45pm.

In any case it's good to have a few different sessions in mind before you register in came some sessions fill unexpectedly before you are able to get in; though some of our Minneapolis camps fill quickly, many others will be open for months.

You have plenty of time! Thank you so much for your interest!


Classic Sessions are the original AiC camps adventurers know and love. All weeks of classic AiC include castle building, arms & armor, games and swimming whenever beaches are available at hosting parks. The terrain varies widely from park to park. Adventurers will have elective opportunities over the course of each week to customize their experience.

The Armory

Build anything you want for your character or your Esteemed House. Usually adventurers begin by designing their own suit of armor and personal arms: The Realm can be a dangerous place! Work independently or collaborate with a team. Add spikes, fins, scales, plates, helmets, gauntlets, shields limited only by your imagination. Go classic or go mythic. Create your heirloom sword, ax, mace, halberd, spear or other deadly accoutrements. Use and improve what you make in daily games of capture the flag.

Or... scrap the arms and armor and work instead on magical tomes, artifacts of power, hoods, capes, crowns, wands and rings of power!

Or... work on a farmstead and corral, a shop in the village, a tavern with games of chance, a forest hut for your sorcerer or a library for your wizened sage.

Each week will also have optional special projects with visiting local artists. Create a village, work on a giant maze, focus on siege engines, specialty bows or on more advanced live-action games.

The Castle Village

Design and build an actual castle and fortified village to inhabit, employ your trade, to defend and attack. Make walls festooned with battlements. Raise towers. Install a gatehouse with portcullis, arrow-loops and drop-holes for defense. Add village buildings, a blacksmith's, a tavern and inn, a stables, a thieve's den, a sacred temple, catacombs beneath the castle, anything goes!

Later in the week this sprawling fortification becomes the locus for many role playing activities. It's final size and the variety of activities that go on inside of its walls is up to our collective imagination. And for every person who manages to become Queen beware the Sword of Damocles that hangs above your head!

The Games

Develop group identities and team strategies to defend or storm the castle in daily competitions of Capture the Flag and other games. Each site usually hosts plenty of paved paths for bicycle patrols, open fields for pitched battles, shoreline beaches for longboat raids and wooded trails for haunted towers and wizardry! Some sites have caves, gorges and other extraordinary features to explore. Always seek magic and unusual characters in such remarkable places when you stumble into them.

Adventurers are divided into six different houses each with its own set of virtues and weaknesses. The Houses of Arko, Drake, Sanglier, Áquila, Hákarl and Hart collaborate and compete in games that seek to instill integrity, chivalry, creativity and collaborative play. Each esteemed House has its own magic related to its unique eorð-sigil or déor-dweomer. Each House also possesses a complex backstory that you will develop and add to as your week progresses. Rumor has it there are secret Houses whose initiates have been sworn to deny their existence.

Click here to view backstory ideas for games and props design!

Swimming & Boating

Swimming breaks are available at sites where local lakes are available. Sometimes when swimming is not available we'll still have the opportunity to use boats or even sometimes build them out of cardboard for our games.


Advanced Sessions are similar to Classic Sessions, but the average age of adventurers is older. We include all of the same activities as Classic Sessions but with a heightened focus on strategy and competition gaming in Tactical Weeks and with a heightened focus on character, role playing and creating-your-own-structure in Theatrical Weeks. In both sessions the story is still king!

Tactical Sessions

These sessions are typically organized around extended rounds of a live action strategic game called Dominion. We will roll out all the relics, characters and backstory, but Tactical Sessions require higher levels of fair play and maturity. Tactical Sessions feature stricter rules, more competition and a greater focus on team strategy and battlefield tactics.

Counselors join their teams in the fray seeking to instill the best spirit of the game and let be what will be!

Come and test yourself: if you were transported into a tragic fantasy conflict of ascension, would you have the cunning, resourcefulness and character it would take to organize your warband and capture the throne?

Free Role Play or Theatrical Sessions

The main difference between Classic Sessions and Free Role Play Sessions is that in Classic Sessions there is a schedule, in Free Role Play Sessions the different activities of camp are always open and you can go WHERE you like, WHEN you like!

Theatrical Sessions are completely immersive role-playing camp experiences for participants. We don't bother teaching theatre skills or worrying about a stage, you will not be forecd to spend any time playing "Zip,Zap,Zop!" Instead counselors create open-ended scenarios where, after a first day of orientation, you are free to explore and participate as you will. You can even just be yourself transported into a mythical world.

We typically have upgraded encounters, new set pieces to explore as well as a fortified town ready to inhabit. You can build in the Armory all day, join tactical battles in The Realm, seek out mysteries and hazards in the town or wilderness and build political and financial power near the castle. Raise a rebel army with hobgoblin bandits and sieze the castle. Disappear into the library and unlock the ability to create and use magical potions. Or... just relax in the natural beauty of the woods.

In any case, YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS will have a large responsibility for helping to create the world we will all be inhabiting. Be prepared to immerse yourself in your character and in The Realm at a much higher level.

Double Realm Sessions

Week Eight is a Double Session at Nine Mile Creek. For most of the week The Band of Iron will stake out the northern part of The Realm by Moir Park, and The Band of Thunder will stake out the southern part by Oak Grove.

Each band will create an entire castle and village, prepare weapons and armor and play games until until the entire Realm opens and adventurers can travel to entirely different regions with their own castles and towns. 

  • Explore 12 New and Mysterious Houses!
  • Play 190-person giant battles of Castle vs. Castle Capture the Flag!
  • Find New Land and Foreign Markets to trade your wares! 

Week Nine is a Double Realm Theatrical Session. (See Theatrical Sessions above.) Warning: adventurers taking these sessions will likely abandon all and settle in The Realm; you may never be able to convince them to come home.

2020 Summer Schedule

Here's a simple-to-view schedule of the summer.

Screen Shot 12 PM

Bold = Julian is present, Green = Tactical, Orange = Theatrical

If you want to organize and view camps by any particular criteria scroll down to the Dynamic Schedule Organizer below the map.

Make sure the sessions you're looking at aren't already full by checking the dynamic schedule below the map below.

What happened to Bryant Lake and Battle Creek?  We'll be back at these parks next year after renovation and construction projects are finished! Check the map above to find other parks you may like near these!

We live next to Battle Creek!  If you would be interested in signing up for a bus from Carver Elementary in Maplewood to Tony Schmidt Regional Park, we have made arrangements for Week Three in the Band of Storms until we can be back at Battle Creek in 2021!


OPENWeek 2June 17-21Moir ParkTactical (ages 10-16)noneIron
OPENWeek 6July 22-26Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
OPENWeek 10Aug 19-23West Bush LakeTactical, Science Fiction (ages 11-16)noneIron
OPENWeek 11Aug 26-30French RegionalTactical (ages 10-16)noneThunder
OPENWeek 11Aug 26-30Tony SchmidtTactical (ages 10-16)noneStorms
OPENWeek 11Aug 26-30West Bush LakeTactical (ages 10-16)noneIron
waitlist openWeek 1June 10-14Moir ParkTactical (ages 10-16)noneIron
waitlist openWeek 3June 24-28Moir ParkTactical (ages 11-16)noneIron
waitlist openWeek 5July 15-19Tony SchmidtTheatrical (ages 11-16)noneThunder
waitlist openWeek 8Aug 5-9Moir ParkTactical (ages 11-16)noneMountains
waitlist openWeek 11Aug 26-30Nine Mile CreekClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
waitlist openWeek 11Aug 26-30Caron Park (Faribault)Classic (ages 8-15)noneNorthfield Band
full waitlistWeek 1June 10-14Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 1June 10-14Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 1June 10-14West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 2June 17-21Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 2June 17-21Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 2June 17-21West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 3June 24-28West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 3June 24-28Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 3June 24-28Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 4July 8-12Spring Lake ParkClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkMountains
full waitlistWeek 4July 8-12West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 4July 8-12Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 4July 8-12Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 5July 15-19Spring Lake ParkClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkMountains
full waitlistWeek 5July 15-19Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 5July 15-19West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 6July 22-26West Bush LakeAdvanced (ages 11-16)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 6July 22-26Wirth ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 6July 22-26Moir ParkClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkMountains
full waitlistWeek 7Jul 29-Aug 2West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 7Jul 29-Aug 2Moir ParkClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 7Jul 29-Aug 2Tony SchmidtClassic, Girls & Nonbinary (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 7Jul 29-Aug 2French RegionalClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkThunder
full waitlistWeek 8Aug 5-9Tony SchmidtClassic (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 8Aug 5-9French RegionalClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkThunder
full waitlistWeek 8Aug 5-9West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 9Aug 12-16Tony SchmidtClassic, 'Hunger Games' (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 9Aug 12-16West Bush LakeClassic (ages 8-15)noneIron
full waitlistWeek 9Aug 12-16Nine Mile CreekClassic (ages 8-15)Powderhorn ParkMountains
full waitlistWeek 9Aug 12-16French RegionalClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder
full waitlistWeek 10Aug 19-23Tony SchmidtClassic, Pirate, Murder Mystery (ages 8-15)noneStorms
full waitlistWeek 10Aug 19-23Nine Mile CreekClassic (ages 8-15)noneMountains
full waitlistWeek 10Aug 19-23French RegionalClassic (ages 8-15)noneThunder

Many of our sessions have busses available from Powderhorn Park Recreation Center and one from North Commons Park in Minneapolis.

Our busses are staffed by the very instructors who will be leading your adventurers through a week of camp. These friendly people will meet adventurers every morning and help facilitate a safe, friendly and engaging atmosphere on the ride to camp.

Drops-offs at each bus station begin at 8am. Busses leave at 8:30am and return typically by 3:30pm.

All bus service is optional and you can select it if you wish when you register for a $35 fee for service Mon-Fri.

Powderhorn Park Bus: A school bus will transport adventurers to and from the Powderhorn Park Recreation Center at 3400 15th Ave S, Minneapolis, Mon-Fri, on the weeks indicated. 

North Commons Bus: A school bus will transport adventurers from North Commons Recreation Center at 1801 North James Ave, Minneapolis to French Regional Park, Mon-Fri, Iron Session 5.

East Metro Bus: A school bus will transport adventurers from Carver Elementary School at 2680 Upper Afton Rd, Maplewood to Tony Schmidt Regional Park, Mon-Fri, Storm Session 3.

The Four Bands

Your experience in the bands will be defined most by the staff that run them and the campers that participate. All of our counselors are masters of art and lore and in each band they have balanced their strengths and interests to bring you ALL the programming that you have come to expect from Adventures in Cardboard!

Band of Storms

Coordinators: Alison and Maggie Counselors: Dan Jones, Lacey, Mark Safford, Diana, Daniel Gubrud, Huyana, Kieran the Hákarlan, Young Roger, Simone, Lin, Grayson and many more! Special Note: Aaron and Fletcher will be on staff Week 8 at Theo Wirth.

Band of Mountains

Coordinators: Meg and Mikha Counselors: Eric Dymit, Liz Hickman, “Fighting Fionn”, Lola, Henry Thill, Steve Ackerman, Mia, Seamus & Dom, Jack & Peter and many more!

Band of Thunder

Coordinators: Ramon and Rachel (AKA Alfie The Elf) Counselors: Noah Sommers Haas, Teresa Mock, Ranea (Lord Bacon), Anna Lund, Grant, Faith Ann, Master Pete, Zoe Chinander-McFaul, Rory, Master Logan, Kirian, Mike Gough and many more!

Band of Iron

Coordinators: Brett and Kevin Counselors: Eric Bowles, Abby, Tyler, Lauren & Olivia, “Armory Ace”, Henry and Charlie, “Old Erik” of Okami, Master Lewis & Roo, Taelyn and many more!


All locations are chosen for natural beauty, tranquility and options for creative outdoor play.

Caponi Art Park, Eagan

South Parking Area, 1220 Diffley Rd., Eagan
  • 60 acres of rolling wooded hills
  • dramatic glacial-shaped topographic for maximum strategic impact in games
  • huge amphitheatre-shaped hills and valleys
  • no swimming onsite

French Regional Park, Plymouth

Skyview Picnic Area, 12605 Rockford Rd., Plymouth
  • dramatic rocky hills and topographical shifts
  • incredible woodland variation in an enclosed nature exploration area
  • miles of bogside and lakeshore trails
  • swimming possible, check with staff

Minnehaha Park, Minneapolis

Lower Wabun Picnic Area, Shelter F, 4655 46th Ave. S., Minneapolis
  • a unique ecosystem in the region with its own flora and fauna
  • miles of unbelievably gorgeous trails along a babbling brook
  • abounding with bridges, islands and hidden crevasses
  • epic battle fields over 400' in length!
  • no swimming onsite, limited creek wading and fording

Nine Mile Creek - Moir Park, Bloomington

10320 Morgan Ave S, Bloomington
  • miles of fantastic hidden creekside trails
  • dramatic forested areas
  • expansive oak savannah and fields
  • no swimming onsite

Nine Mile Creek - Oak Grove Elementary, Bloomington

Ice Rink Field, 10467 Humboldt Ave S, Bloomington
  • miles of fantastic hidden creekside trails
  • basalt instrusion high maple forest and ridgeline trails
  • expansive oak savannah and fields
  • no swimming onsite


Theodore Wirth Park, Minneapolis

The Pavilion and Beach Parking Lot. 3200 Glenwood Ave, Minneapolis
  • minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • rolling hills and forests with lots of shade, bike paths, tremendously varied and beautiful woodland terrain
  • swimming onsite

Tony Schmidt Park, Saint Paul

3500 Lake Johanna Blvd., Arden Hills
  • minutes from both downtown Minneapolis and Saint Paul
  • plenty of twisting, maze-like wooded trails, lots of hidden places, some swamps and open fields
  • bright and sunny parts of the woods are crisscrossed by bike paths, optionally Tony Schmidt has plenty of dark and spooky interior places to explore as well
  • swimming onsite

West Bush Lake Park, Bloomington

Shelter #1, 9401 West Bush Lake Rd., Bloomington
  • minutes from south Minneapolis
  • quiet and majestic oak forests on gargantuan hilly promontories
  • miles of beachfront walks for possible canoe and dragon boat assaults.
  • diverse topography for maximum strategic impact in games
  • no swimming onsite, but boating is available

“The Road goes ever on and on,
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone
And I must follow if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.” ―B.B.

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

fixed up castle